Syria says Israeli missiles strike near Damascus airport

ScreenshotDamascus airport

ScreenshotDamascus airport

The majority of the rebels in southern Syria were U.S- and Jordan backed, although some local al-Qaida-linked militants still operate there.

Two Israeli missiles landed near the worldwide airport of Damascus after midnight Tuesday, Syrian state TV reported.

Government forces opened a new front on Tuesday against the rebel-held part of Deraa city, the provincial capital, state media reported.

Government forces intensified their offensive in the south last week, the latest phase in a Russian-backed campaign to retake territory lost since the start of the Syrian war seven years ago.

For a week, regime forces have ramped up their bombardment of countryside areas in the southern province of Deraa, which the United Nations says has forced 45,000 people to flee.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview aired last Wednesday by the Iranian al-Alam TV that the presence of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria is not for negotiation.

The Syrian government troops are seeking to dislodge rebels who have been in the area for years, and gain control of the commercial border crossing with Jordan.

State television reported: "Syria's army is carrying out targeted air strikes against terrorist positions and fortifications in Daraa".

The Syrian army on Tuesday captured key areas in the southern province of Daraa, as part of the military offensive against the rebels in the south of the country, official media reported.

The Syrian regime seized a chunk of territory in the southwest, media run by Lebanon's Hezbollah and the Observatory said on Tuesday, the first major regime advance in an offensive near the Jordanian border.

Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is anxious that those fleeing the assault and moving closer to the border with Jordan will have nowhere to go.

"We expect the number of displaced people could more than double as violence escalates", Bettina Luescher, spokeswoman for the UN's World Food Programme (WFP), said.

In talks with concerned parties, Safadi Tweeted, Amman focuses on the need to halt bloodshed, support a political solution and help displaced people inside Syria.

The U.N. said over 30,000 of the almost 50,000 displaced have headed to villages in the south near the border with Jordan.

Jordan said its borders will remain closed for any new refugees, calling on the U.N.to provide security in southern Syria.

Parts of Daraa, as well as the neighbouring provinces of Quneitra and Sweida, fall under a "de-escalation zone" agreed by Russian Federation, the United States and Jordan in July 2017.

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